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New OED Words: to use or not to use?

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Story Moderator
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Thought the lexico...lexi...wordsmith-types among us might like to know that the, Oxford English Dictionary, (OED) now recognizes "manspreading," sort of.

My question is, should writer's use them in their stories?

Here's an excerpt from a BBC article.

"The Oxford Dictionaries said the addition of multiple slang words showed "creative" use of language. New words and phrases are added to the website once editors have enough independent evidence to be confident of their widespread currency in English. However, they do not gain an entry into the Oxford English Dictionary unless there is a demonstration of continued historical use."

Here are some of the new 'words'.

Manspreading - when a man sits with his legs wide apart on public transport encroaching on other seats

Bants - short for banter

NBD - abbreviation of no big deal

Hangry - adjective used to show feelings of anger or irritability as a result of hunger

Grexit and Brexit - the potential departure of the UK and Greece from the EU

Awesomesauce - to describe something as excellent

Weak sauce - anything of a poor or disappointing standard

Bruh - describing a male friend

Pocket dial - to accidentally call someone while your phone is in a pocket

Mkay - the informal pronunciation of OK
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I don't see why a writer wouldn't use any of those words, if he or she felt they were right for the text. That's not to say I'm going to use them, or that I like them, but that wasn't the question.

Interesting that the words only gain an entry if a continued historical use is shown. I wonder what time scale they use for that?
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I think all words have valid places in their own context, but unless I was actually writing a story set in today's times (which would probably never happen, but let's never say "never") I don't think I'd use them. I might use hangry, but that's because it's a funny word.
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When I first read the list I thought "bants" meant some sort of clothing, like pants. Or pants said by someone with a really bad head cold, or even sports wear, like badminton pants, bants.
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I'm positive of that I wouldn't be using any of those. Lol.



In real life or in a story. Lmaooo.

Just, no.
Primus Omnium
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I have no need for any of these words. I don't mind seeing them used and I'm glad to see the definitions. Some I've heard but most are new to me. The glory of the English language is that it is open to growing and creating new words and phrases. But I certainly doubt these have been around long enough to actually enter the writer's lexicon.
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I would be very careful of using them. If it is in time context perhaps as it helps lock in the time setting. However, I think over time they lose their meaning. This makes it difficult for future readers to grasp the meaning. Sort of like trying to read Chaucer in the original Middle English.
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I can not imagine using new words like these, except as dialogue for a character that it would be appropriate for.
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The only possible reason I can see is to provide a potential Rosetta stone for future readers to be able to understand the context and intent. I totally concur withe Rolandlytle.
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IMO, Vern and Roland have nailed the issue. In fiction, neologisms, like 'big' words, esoteric foreign words, extreme slang and 'insider' professional jargon should be used carefully since they run the risk of confusing and/or annoying readers and throwing them out of the story

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Don't like any of these words. But I'm totally in favour of inventiveness and doing things that don't follow the traditional rules. Writers should make up their own words whenever they can, which won't, by definition, be in any dictionary. Did Brian Wilson make up "excitations"? Not sure. But it's not a word I've heard much outside Good Vibrations. Credit to him if he did.
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Quote by BillySoho
Don't like any of these words. But I'm totally in favour of inventiveness and doing things that don't follow the traditional rules. Writers should make up their own words whenever they can, which won't, by definition, be in any dictionary. Did Brian Wilson make up "excitations"? Not sure. But it's not a word I've heard much outside Good Vibrations. Credit to him if he did.


No, he did not. "Excitation" is used, for instance, in physics to refer to when one adds energy to a particle or atom. And "sexual excitation", which is probably closer to what Brian was after, is a thing.

https://www.dictionary.com/browse/excitation?s=t

Neologisms simply confuse unless the meaning is clear and should be used sparingly. Tolkien made up whole languages but mostly used them for names or short references. The actual text of his stories is in plain, if somewhat academic, English.

There have been writers who salted their writings with odd words, grammer, or neologisms but they are hardly the mainstream and it is definitely not where a new writer should be starting out. Your first story should not be The Naked Lunch, in other words.

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Why on earth should your first story not be the Naked Lunch? That is exactly what it should be! If you're up to writing it, of course.
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So one: I think it's very odd to see words that were "new" when I was younger and in school be added to the dictionary as actual words, haha.

Two, unless I had a character that they fit, I can't see myself using this in a story and even there only in dialogue.

That's not to say that they shouldn't or couldn't be used in the right genre or story "mood" I suppose, just that they wouldn't fit in my realistic or dystopian fiction preferences. Many of mine are set in alternate timelines or in the future, so do I come up with fictitious slang from time to time? Absolutely. But these wouldn't fit the mood or setting of any of my stories in particular.

I do, however, use awesomesauce on a regular basis myself even though I never used it when it was a popular word to use biggrin

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